so, anna – my sister – thinks that everyone should have their own personal “life soundtrack.” where an obvious song would kick in at any given milestone in life.
as much as i detest country music, especially the twangy, extravagantly emotional songs, i keep hearing the dixie chicks singing “wide open spaces” in my head. classic. cliche. but suiting, no?
“Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about?
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out?
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone
Many precede and many will follow
A young girl’s dreams no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out west
But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed
She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the highest stakes”
after i picked up my friend aj, we drove to Wisconsin to stay with relatives and had a BLAST. experienced a true mid-western fair. we’re talking pig/cow judging, horse shows, cheese curdle snacks, and del-ic-ious creamy shakes. i suppose it’s not that far off from Calvert County’s annual fair, aside from the absence of tobacco leaves everywhere.
why is it that when you’re a kid, crazy spinning rides don’t bother you at all? Onnie is quite the little thrill seeker and wanted to do all the scary looking rides so i went on the “Gravitron” with her – bleh! either i’m a wimp on gravity defying rides, or Onnie has a stomach of steel. other highlights at the Higgins’: teaching all the cousins SPUD, catching up with Aunt Maria and Uncle Dan, having a good cup of coffee in hand, meeting little Nora, laughing at how FUNNY my cousins are. i love Minnesotan accents.
the ride from Wisconsin to the Badlands in South Dakota took some effort – not to go insane. comparitively, it isn’t so bad when the other options are Nebraska, Kansas, or Oklahoma; and it’s perfect if you like flat prarie roads with little to see along the way, save 3 billion signs for Wall Drug. (it is the “South of the Border” of the West) we exhausted the trivial pursuit cards and favorite driving tunes. Badlands Natl Park was worth the drive, though. very cool place. we went backcountry camping and walked around the park a little. it must have been grasshopper season – they were everywhere. i ate some. they weren’t as good as afrcian grasshoppers.
after an exciting stop at wall drug for a 5 cent coffee, entertaining attractions, and a chance to stretch our legs, we headed into Wyoming. South Dakota won the prize for highest number of bizarre things on the side of the road: among others, we saw 1. a giant bull head 2. a giant prarie dog 3. tire men 4. a jackalope 5. dinosaur park and 6. all of wall drug. and even then, we had to bypass the worlds largest pheasant, the outhouse museum, and corn palace! “RoadsideAmerica.com” is incredible. Check it out.
night #2 we camped in Cody, Wyoming. downtown Cody reminded me of Asheville, North Carolina. a lot of hippies walking around, other interesting people, most of the cafe’s are earthy organic places. it’s what you call “granola”.
the drive from Cody into Yellowstone was short, but scenic. Yellowstone is huuge. we came in fairly early to get a permit for backcountry camping, and saw a lot of wildlife. Bison are obnoxious. and they know it. i think they wake up and decide they’re going to give some tourists a show and see how much traffic they can back up. AND people are incredible – they walk up to Bison like it’s nothing, despite large yellow signs everywhere of a stick figure person being gored. unbelievable.
after a few hikes, both long and short, we backpacked into the wilderness, following tracks of all kinds. black bears, grizzlies, elk, and raccoons. my favorite saying soon became, “Hey Bear!” you have to make noise, yell, etc.. in order to not startle a bear. that’s bad. later that night when we were in the tent, we heard them at the sight where we cooked dinner; they were trying to get the food, but we stored it strung up on a tree like you’re supposed to do. i can think of very few times where i was more freaked out. they didn’t bother us in the tent at all, but i didn’t sleep the best that night.
Top 5 at Yellowstone:
5. Dragon’s Mouth Spring – it breathed smoke and sounded real.
4. Old Faithful – shot up over a hundred feet.
3. Upper Geiser Basin – it is full of hot springs, colorful pools, and bubbly mud pits.
2. Yellowstone Falls – we hiked down to see it up close – i like the smell of waterfalls.
1. Grand Prismatic – it was hot, reaked of sulfuric acid, and even from the ground, looked amazing. bacteria produces pigments that show up as the different colors. the temperature is near boiling point, so the heat rises, and when it’s windy, clears. standing by it gives you an odd sensation of heat, then quick gusts of cold wind. kind of like Bengay. hot AND cold.
We then drove through the Tetons – one of the best drives i’ve ever taken. it was a little overcast that day, but you can’t miss that mountain range.. Despite some serious construction through Wyoming, the drive down to Denver wasn’t bad. the subaru done good. i’m here – moved in completely and enjoying the climate, view, and terrain immensly. going camping this weekend in a beautful chunk of Northern Colorado. i hope that it isn’t condusive to bears.